August 10, 2006 - Kerala Sahitya Academy Auditorium - 4.00 p.m.

The Kerala Legislative Assembly introduced and passed the Kerala Professional Colleges (Prohibition of Capitation Fee, Regulation of Admission, Fixation of Non-Exploitative Fee and other Measures to ensure Equity and Excellence in Professional Education) Bill, 2006.

The context of the new legislation was to bring under law the managements of Self-Financed Educational Institutions that collected Rs. 35 to 60 lakhs per seat in private medical colleges and Rs 5 to 10 lakhs in Engineering colleges and in Nurses’ Training Institutes.

The private managements challenged the new Act alleging that it violated their minority rights guaranteed by the Constitution. The Christian hierarchy, many of whom have several self-financed institutions, impressed their believers and congregations that the new law brought by the Government had taken away all their Constitutional protections and that all their schools and colleges would gradually be lost. The bishops of all Christian denominations issued a joint circular, which was read to the entire congregation in churches on 25th July 2006.

However, the independent, erudite, and highly respectable people belonging to the various Christian denominations have strong objections to what their church leadership have wrongly and wantonly asserted as Minority Rights. Hence Jananeethi decided to bring such distinguished members of the minority communities on a platform to openly declare that they did not subscribe what had been projected as ‘minority rights’.

A special public meeting was organized at Kerala Sahithya Academy Auditorium, Thrissur on the 10th August 2006 from 4.00 to 8.00 pm. The topic was “Minority Rights: Whom do they belong to?”

Bishop Yuhanon Mar Milithios, the metropolitan of Malankara Orthodox Church, Thrissur inaugurated the function. Other speakers included Dr.Ninan Kozhy, Dr.Scaria Zacharia, Dr.M.P.Mathai and Professor Reverend Thomas John.

This seminar is being held at a critical juncture. The social context is for the wide disquiet is the introduction of the Education Bill in the Kerala Legislative Assembly that was later passed as a law to check unethical and illegal practices in the field of professional education. Let me make it clear at the very outset. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church to which I belong has unanimously resolved not to support to or initiate for a ‘Liberation Struggle’ in this regard.

What was the intention of the Architects of the Indian Constitution ...........

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Let me recall what I said in 1998 when Jananeethi organized a public meeting at this auditorium on ‘Minority Rights’. Minority rights are intended for ensuring equity among people of all communities. Minority rights will be protected only in a secular state. And therefore, those who wish to safe guard minority rights should first work for a secular polity and secular culture that should become the order of the day.

It should be remembered that where-ever in India the religious minorities are under attack or their life and properties are being threatened, they are visited ..............

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I am a catholic, and I am witnessing the most shameful and scandalous events in my life these days. I am sad to note these gruesome developments are spearheaded by the ‘consecrated leaders’ of the community. My self and my children got educated in Christian institutions and we never had to pay capitation fees. That is history, today.

The Changanacherry Archdiocese, to which I belong to, had resolved in principle not to accept capitation fee for admission in professional colleges. Despite, certain institutions ..............

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We are all emotionally surcharged. The topic we deal today has an emotional content that is quite unusual in public deliberations. There is commercialization and commodification in almost all spheres of life from the 1970s. Its balance sheet is what is resounded in our environment. We all should seriously ask ourselves whether we should divide our society in fragments as it is happening around

While A.K. Antony was the Chief Minister of the State, he sanctioned all applications –26 of them in total – for professional colleges in private sector. “It was a deliberate ...................

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Exhortations are not required for laity; they are badly in need for those in authority, wielding arbitrary power over the people having no contact with ordinary people. This is true in the case of the church hierarchy as well as the judiciary.

The earlier speakers referred to tensions and strife in the society. I would say, it is good. Only through strife and social confrontations, the real stuff – the dirty linen – will be taken out. You provoke the ‘holy’, and ............

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Our Journey

1991 Jananeethi office inaugurated
1992 - May 13 Registration of Jananeethi Society
1992 December

Formal Inauguration

Initial services included – public adalats (neethimela), free legal aid, legal literacy, mediation & reconciliation and public interest litigation. Started campaign against torture, death penalty, dowry, child labour and trafficking.

1993 Launch of Jananeethi Publication
1994 Women’s Desk
1996 Environmental Advocacy launched
2000 Helpline for women, children and elderly in distress started
Declaration of first litigation-free village in Thichoor in Varavoor Panchayat
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